Leading otherwise: using a feminist-poststructuralist and postcolonial lens to create alternative spaces for early childhood educational leaders
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The recognition of the importance of quality programmes and services for very young children is evident in the political agendas of many countries around the world. This focus has been accompanied by increasing recognition that effective leadership in early childhood programmes makes a positive difference to the outcomes for children, families and communities. Research into early childhood leadership, however, has not kept pace with the changes that are occurring within the field. In this paper, we argue that characteristics of the field including the feminized nature of the field, diverse settings, staffing, policies and purposes of early childhood education require a different conceptual framework than what currently exists. Because we live and work within highly gendered and raced discourses, it is difficult to find a space to reflect on the meaning(s) of leadership for contemporary early childhood educators that is not informed by existing (and often Western masculine) knowledge(s) about who a leader is and what a leader does. This paper draws from the work done by feminist poststucturalist and postcolonial theorists and seeks to further discuss how dominant constructions of educational leadership can be troubled and reconceptualised in ECE contexts.